Category Archives: writing contests

“A minute of kindness” essay winners honored

Julia Siclovan, second grader at Coyote Ridge Elementary in Glendale with her award.

The winners of the “How a Minute of Kindness Can Change a Day” Writing Contest sponsored by The Be Kind People Project were honored March 26.

The project mission “is to instill the concept of intentional kindness in students and to honor the 6.2 million teachers who bring their consummate skills and selfless devotion to our nation’s classrooms.”

“I’m truly inspired by the caliber of the writing entries we received and the enthusiasm for the contest and its goals expressed by students and teachers from across the Valley,” said Marcia Meyer, founder of The Be Kind People Project. “The essays demonstrated a keen appreciation for the destructive impact of bullying in our nation’s schools, where one in four kids is bullied on a regular basis. It’s time to take positive action to combat this growing problem. Educators can lead the charge by teaching students that kindness is one of our nation’s core values and by acknowledging and rewarding acts of kindness whenever they occur.”

One of the winners, Amalia Frohna, eighth grader at Cocopah Middle School in the Scottsdale Unified School District wrote in her essay, “Kindness: A Possible Change”:

One act of kindness can take less than a minute out of each day. Thinking about how many minutes I hope to live, one each day is fairly insignificant, but to someone else, that minute could possibly be the best minute of their lives. But giving one minute each day for the rest of our lives, the minutes add up and turn into something significant. If we give up one minute of the 1,440 in a day, we can make the world a better place.

The winners for the Phoenix metropolitan area are:

Emily Trent, grade 9, Westwood High School, Mesa. “One Smile Can Change a Life”

Megan Weidle, grade 12, Westwood High School, Mesa, “The Reunion of a Lifetime”

Zach Hendin, grade 3, Desert View Learning Center, Paradise Valley, “How a Minute of Kindness Can Change a Day”

Livia Del Housaye, grade 4, Paradise Valley Christian Prep, Paradise Valley, “Kindness to a Friend”

Nate Van Ness, grade 6, Cocopah Middle School, Scottsdale, “One Act of Kindness”

Amalia Frohna, grade 8, Cocopah Middle School, Scottsdale, “One Moment Lasts Forever”

Julia Siclovan, grade 2, Coyote Ridge Elementary, Glendale, “Kind at Home” (essay and drawing)

Emaree Vanzant, grade 5, Sunset Hills Elementary, Surprise, “The Pathway to Kindness”

Isaac Garcia, grade 6, Washington Elementary, Glendale, untitled essay and drawing

Halee Workman, grade 1, Horseshoe Trails Elementary, Phoenix, (Cave Creek Unified School District), untitled essay and drawing

Read more of the winning essays.


New Vistas students receive awards in Creative Expressions Contest

Four young students from New Vistas Center for Education private school received first, second and third place awards in the City of Chandler’s Creative Expressions Contest and Centennial Poster competition. The winners were announced Friday, Jan. 20, by Community Resources and Diversity Manager Leah Powell.

Alessandra Isaacson sings a song dedicated to Chandler residents, of all heritages, who miss their homeland.

This year, 1,100 children submitted entries in performance, writing and visual arts categories. First place in performance for kindergarten through fourth grade was New Vistas first grader Alessandra Isaacson. She introduced her a capella song in both Spanish and English and dedicated it to those who miss their homeland.

“The song is about missing your home and having no one around who knows you,” Isaacson said in a press release from the school. “I like to sing in front of people. It makes me happy.”

In the writing category, Sasha Guntu won first place with an essay about coming to America.

Sisters Melinda and Madeleine Chang.

In visual arts, Madeleine Chang (5) came in third with a painting of a Chandler farm and her sister Melinda Chang (10) came in second for her depiction of downtown Chandler’s Farmer’s Market.

“There are 29 different people in my picture and they are all doing something different,” Melinda said in the press release.

Melinda also won first place out of 1,500 entries in the Centennial Poster Contest.

All first place winners were congratulated and awarded cash prizes at a Jan. 23 Chandler City Council Meeting. — Amy Vogelsang

Melinda's drawing of the downtown Chandler's Farmer's Market.

Melinda's first place winning entry of the Centennial Poster Contest.

Afterschool essay contest

Students of all ages are being encouraged to grab a pen and paper or to sit down at the computer and show off their writing skills. To celebrate Arizona’s Centennial and the national Lights on Afterschool Celebration, the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence is holding an essay competition. Anyone from kindergarten to 12th grade who participates in an Arizona-based, out-of-school program is welcome to try his or her hand at essay writing.

There are three prompts students must base their essays on:

–       I am proud to live in Arizona because…

–       Young people are important to Arizona’s future because…

–       My vision for Arizona in the next 100 years is…

The essays are not expected to be the lengthy things you see graduate students working on. For grades K-4, essays should be 50-100 words, for grades 5-8 it should be 100-250 words, and for grades 9-12 it should be 500-750 words. (This post is already almost 150 words…it’s easy!)

The organization will select 100 essays for publication, which will debut at the Annual Afterschool Awards of Excellence Luncheon on Wednesday, November 9th at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.

The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence is an organization that provides resources for all sorts of afterschool programs around the state. Around my house alone there are over 60 different programs listed for students to get involved in from doodling to the Boys and Girls Club.

Afterschool programs give students a great chance to expand their minds beyond what they might learn in the classroom. Even if it’s just playing a sport, students learn about teamwork, dedication, and gain physical fitness. A student may be told in class that teamwork is important but they actually learn the concept when they use it while passing the ball in a soccer game.

Essays are due by May 27th, 2011 by mail or in person to: Voices of Afterschool, Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence, 112 North Central Avenue, Suite 700, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Students can register online.

2011 Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest asks what makes a “sustainable” community

Applications are available for the Arizona Educational Foundation‘s 2011 Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest. The contest, sponsored by APS, is open to students in grades 7 through 12 who attend public or charter schools in Arizona.

This year’s theme is “Sustainable Communities: What That Means to Me and to Arizona.”

Polly Rosenbaum.

The contest is named for Polly Rosenbaum, a former Arizona State Representative and teacher who died in 2003 at the age of 104. She believed Arizona’s young people are the state’s greatest resource.

Students enter in one of three categories: grades 7-8, grades 9-10 and grades 11-12 grades. Entry forms are available online and the deadline for submissions is Jan. 14. The selection process includes a review by educators and business leaders who judge each entry on the basis of proper grammar and word usage, relevance to the established theme, creativity and effective use of the six-trait writing rubric.

Every student who participates will receive a letter of commendation and a commemorative pen. The first-, second- and third-place winners from each of three categories (grades 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12) will be invited to a lunch and ceremony on Statehood Day — Monday, Feb. 14 — at the State Capitol in Phoenix.

Winners receive a certificate from the governor and are invited to read their essays aloud. The first-place winners also will receive $50 gift certificates to the Arizona Capitol Museum Store, the second-place winners will receive $25 gift certificates and the third-place winners will receive $15 gift certificates courtesy of APS.

Watch an Arizona Capital Television video about Polly Rosenbaum.